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Generational Analysis of Mail Users

In: Progress toward Liberalization of the Postal and Delivery Sector


  • Luis Jimenez

    (Pitney Bowes)

  • Elena Diakova

    (Pitney Bowes)

  • Chrystal Szeto

    (Pitney Bowes)


The anticipated decline in the intensity of mail use by younger consumers belonging to the more recent generations is a commonly held conjecture. This belief is largely based on assumptions about the technological adroitness of younger consumers, which would seemingly drive them to electronic media and away from mail. The belief is also based on a perceived lack of preference of young people for paper media. Unfortunately, neither of these beliefs has been documented empirically, although it is broadly accepted that few person-to-person letters are being written. In contrast, studies show that future mail growth will be determined not by consumer-originated mail patterns, but primarily by business-to-consumer mail, over which consumers have little control. Advertisers, service providers and financial firms target consumers based upon the recipient’s unique demographic characteristics, including age and income. However, research that identifies and quantifies a “generational effect” on the volume of mail received has not been available to date. This paper addresses the question: How much mail has been historically received by various age groups across time and what appear to be the determinants of mail receipt by generation of the recipient? The paper’s analysis and conclusions rest on a wide-ranging review of the relevant literature, a statistical analysis of mail use by 31 cohorts1 of adult U.S. households over the period 1987–2003, and the preliminary application of a demographic simulation model under development.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Jimenez & Elena Diakova & Chrystal Szeto, 2006. "Generational Analysis of Mail Users," Topics in Regulatory Economics and Policy, in: Michael A. Crew & Paul R. Kleindorfer (ed.), Progress toward Liberalization of the Postal and Delivery Sector, chapter 0, pages 281-300, Springer.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:topchp:978-0-387-29744-6_17
    DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-29744-6_17

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